Smart businesses will always attempt to stay current with energy management trends in order to optimize their energy consumption, as well as optimize their energy expenses and emission reductions. Utilities are beginning to change their business models due to increased diversification for electricity generation sources.
We’re only a few months into 2017, but we’re already seeing the following trends in commercial energy management:
The Move to Sustainable Power
Sustainable power sources include things such as solar energy, hydroelectricity, wind energy, wave power, and tidal power. Effective government policies have helped this sector to continue to grow. Market share will continue to rise for renewables as people begin to look for their own sustainability solutions. Regulatory policies are also shifting as government entities attempt to provide secure and reliable power supply.
It is predicted that energy demand will increase by 56% by 2040. New energy technologies are disrupting energy demand. These technologies include increased energy efficiency of appliances and insulation as well as electric vehicles and electric heating.
Smart metering is another technology that will continue to increase. This will lead to the potential for customers to choose when they use water, electricity, or gas based on price fluctuations.
Solar Energy Will Continue to Rise
Solar energy installation grew 34% from 2014 to 2015 and that trend is expected to continue. Innovative financing for solar power as well as reduction in installation costs has helped this trend continue.
Energy Management Systems
These systems were designed to produce whole building energy efficiency by utilizing a building automation system. These systems are allowing for a whole new level of control that enables the administrator to have full control of their building’s energy performance.
Internet of Things and Smart Lighting
Basically, this is the integration of any system to the internet to help regulate systems. This includes cell phones, computers, networks, appliances and even building systems. This will allow more control of the actual energy consumed by the building and allow for adjustments in real-time using smart technology. These systems are allowing companies to reduce staff, reduce maintenance costs and help the environment.
Tunable White Lighting
Building/facility managers are now able to adjust the temperature of light in different parts of the building. While this is not a big money saver necessarily, it has been shown to increase production in the workplace, which in the long run increases the bottom line of a company.
Since oil is a global commodity, pricing is determined by supply and demand worldwide. The decision in late 2016 by the OPEC to cut the production of oil helped stabilize the price. Since the United States does not have current production limits in place, it can be expected that the United States will increase market share.
Last year, for the first time, natural gas came in above coal as the predominant fuel for electricity generation in the United States. Low prices and the abundance of natural gas supplies have fueled this shift. As a result, over the last few years, natural gas prices have continued to decline.
The United States is predicted to be the world’s third largest producer of liquefied natural gas for export by 2020, according to the Department of Energy. This is a big shift as historically, the United States has always been known primarily as an importer of oil. The primary driver for this change was when Congress lifted the 40-year ban on U.S. crude oil exports.
This industry has seen a lot of change, especially in regards to technology advancement that has changed the landscape significantly. In addition, new regulatory laws have helped protect businesses and given them more choices and control over their energy consumption.